You must have experienced or bought products being sold under duplicate names. For example, iPhone is the latest buzz and market is flooded with fake iPhone. Companies producing a fake product have many parameters to play with such as logo of company (change in font, color, spelling, etc), packaging of the product and so on. Generally, the name of fake products is similar the genuine counter part. China has been producing fake products almost in every industry and pharmaceutical products are one of them.
Now, China’s pharmaceutical industry is in question that dumped fake products in African markets labeled as “Made in India”. Let us look at fake products produced by Chinese companies in relation to the recent developments.
China exports fake drug with label “made in India”
China’s unfair and illegal practices of producing fake drugs with label ‘made in India’ have posed danger to India. On earlier occasions, India and China have been held responsible for fake drugs in the Nigerian market in particular and Africa in general. More than 30 Indian and Chinese companies were banned in Nigeria for exporting fake drugs to the country between 2001 – 2007. But recent fake drug scandal of China is an eye opener for us. Such gruesome activities not only take legal market share but tarnish the image of Indian Industry in other countries.
What are the facts that confirm China is manufacturing fake drugs with label “made in India”?
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria found boxes containing fake anti-malarial drugs such as Maloxine and Amalar tablets having an estimated value of N32.1 million ($220,000) The labels on the products showed that they were manufactured in India however; the bill of lading indicated they have been produced in China, and the exporter is Heihe Cheng Feng Trading co, Ltd. (Shenzhen Shenghetai Trading Co. Ltd).
No, result of laboratory tests confirmed that the fake anti-malarial drugs, which were manufactured in China but labeled “made in India,” contained only sulfadioxine and no pyrimethamine; whereas original drug contains both sulfadioxine 500 milligram and pyrimethamine 25 milligram.
If these drugs have not been seized by NAFDAC, 642,000 patients will be affected by treatment failure, drug resistance, complications like anemia and even death if no effective drug is given thereafter.
NAFDAC mentioned that this figure will go up if children are given half or quarter dose as some parents and guardians, sometimes do that.
China has been unfairly manufacturing fake drugs for a long time. According to China Daily newspaper, China’s FDA counted 329,613 cases of distribution of unlicensed drugs and medical products in the past years. Here are few of them:
Fake Anti-diabetic drug:
style="font-size: 10pt; color: black; line-height: 150%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; mso-themecolor: text1;"> Samples showed that the medicine contained six times higher dose of glibenclamide, a molecule which lowers blood glucose level. After taking this drug, two patients died and nine fell ill.
Contamination of blood thinner Heparin: Chinese-manufactured Heparin, a medicine used to prevent blood clots reported as many as 81 deaths and hundreds of allergic reactions last year.
Milk contamination: After consuming tainted milk, six infants died and almost 300,000 fell ill.
What is the response of china on this current matter?
In response to the protest, Bian Zhenjia, deputy head of the State Food and Drug Administration, said in a news conference that China was being unfairly blamed for the problem, especially by foreign media which claim the country is a major exporter of fake drugs.
He also said that Chinese government has always been active in cracking down companies that produce fake drugs. But sometimes overseas companies ignored Chinese regulations and did business with unregistered firms.
What impact would it cause to India?
Such scandals cause gigantic damage to Indian Industry’s reputation and put a question mark on safety and quality measures of Indian products. India’s High Commissioner in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, Mahesh Sachdev mentioned that “these incidents not only dents our image and takes our legitimate market share, it also erodes the distinction between generic and fake medicines that we have been campaigning for at WHO and WTO”.
It is confirmed that major motivation of the companies selling fake drugs is just profit, not safe products. Therefore, they are more inclined to perfect the packaging, not the contents and quality of products and when these dangerous products reach to the patients, instead of giving life to them; they take their hope and life back.
It is a no-brainer to think that fake medicine business must be stopped at any cost. It compromises the safety of patients and at the same time reduces confidence of consumer on real medicines. Selling fake medicines in name of other country makes the situation even worse as it can affect relationships between countries and hinder co-developmental efforts, which is necessary for present global economic crisis.